Double Trouble: Chapter 7

Wednesday Briefs

Take a couple of three-year-olds to the fair, and see what happens.

For more free flash reading check out the list of authors at the bottom of this post.

 


Chapter 7

Trent grinned as he watched Benji crawl out of the latest ride the twins had talked him into. Danny and Sammy were both starting to get cranky, so Trent knew this was the last ride for the night. He looked at the other three and realized the kids weren’t the only ones that looked tired.

“Alright, everyone. It’s time to head for the hotel.” Danny started to whine about being forced to leave, and Trent smiled. “It’s definitely time to head out.”

He turned to thank Benji and was a little surprised to find a look of disappointment. “I thought you’d be ready to get rid of four old guys and two rowdy kids.”

Benji shrugged and the look only deepened. “Yeah, it’s cool. I gotta go anyway.”

A huge drop of rain splattered on the sidewalk. Another followed. Darrin and Josh grabbed the kids and started to the truck, but Trent sensed something else in Benji. He felt a kinship with the youngster that he couldn’t place. The look of resignation was Trent’s final clue. He knew from personal experience that he had to word this carefully or Benji wouldn’t tell him the truth.

“Looks like it’s fixin’ to pour. Do you want a ride—somewhere?”

Benji glanced at his watch and panic flicked across his face. But any emotion was hidden by the time he met Trent’s gaze. “Nah. It’ll be fine.”

He glanced around but this was a look Trent remembered wearing himself. It was being afraid you couldn’t find a safe place to sleep for the night. It was a feeling Trent wouldn’t wish on anyone else. He scrutinized Benji for a minute or so and then made his decision.

“We have a hotel room for tonight. You can sleep on the couch if you’d like.”

The expression on Benji’s face changed to suspicious. “I dunno…”

A few more large drops hit around them. It was about to pour. He didn’t have time to soft talk this kid into using them as a safe shelter.

“Look, kid. I’ve been on the streets before and had to do some things I hope you never have to do. No one is going to hurt you. But I’ll guarantee you that we’ll watch you like hawks, ‘cause those two babies are the most precious things we have in our lives.”

“You were on the streets? You don’t look like it.”

Trent grinned. “It’s been a few years, and some of the scars are in places that I wouldn’t want to show you. But I was, and we’ll just have to agree that neither of us trusts the other one.” The huge drops started smashing into the concrete surrounding them. Benji’s shoulders were already wet and Trent’s patience was wearing thin.

“Look. You can get your ass in the pickup, or you can try to find a dry place to hide for another night. It’s your choice, but I’m not going to stand here and get soaked.”

Trent turned and walked toward the pickup. He really wanted to break into a dead run like the people around him were doing, but he wanted to give Benji at least a few extra seconds to think. Trent let out a sigh of relief when he heard quick footsteps coming up behind him. He turned, just in time to get punched in the nose.

Trent dropped in pain, his world getting smaller and smaller until…

 


 

If you’d like to see a snippet from the other Wednesday Briefs authors you can go to the groups website. Or click on the name listed below to go directly to the story.

Here is the final list of those who are flashing this week, barring any changes.

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New Release – Showstring

My new short story, Showspring, has been released from Torquere Press!

rodehard

Jayden Laine has spent his life in the city, dreaming of cowboys and cattle ranches. He looks forward to each fall when his life is exchanged for his dreams when the state fair opens.

This year when he steps into the barns he’s greeted by the sights he’s come to see, and one additional sight of Ben Ramos fighting to move a two-thousand pound bull that’s decided he doesn’t want to move. What happens next starts a juggernaut of emotions in Jayden that turn his world upside down. Now all he has to do is reevaluate his entire life and decide who to believe. And he has only a few days to do it.

 

eBook Link

Torquere Press

Amazon

 

Sample!

Stepping into the barns from the bright sunshine, I paused for a moment to let my eyes adjust. The earthy scent of cattle merged with the sweet odor of hay and the sharp bite of pine shavings to play across my senses while I waited. I lost myself in this world each fall during the state fair. It always took a little sneaking around so my father didn’t know how I was spending my time. If he figured out my desire for cowboys hadn’t changed, he’d send me off for treatment again, or worse. But this was my time to dream I was normal, to pretend I didn’t know I was damaged.

Locking my guilt away, I moved down the aisle, determined to allow myself a few moments of peace. The neat rows of cattle lying contentedly on immaculately groomed beds of wood chips revived the world I lost myself in each time I could. While forming an important part of my fantasy life, the cattle intimidated me. They were huge, but I still dreamed of working with them.

“Sorry, excuse me.”

Startled I glanced up to find myself in the way of a guy who looked only a few years older than me, leading a massive black animal. Scrambling out of the, the heat of my clumsy embarrassment burned across my face. “Sorry. I wasn’t paying attention.”

The tanned cowboy gave me a bright smile. “If it wasn’t for old fat ass Norman here, it wouldn’t be a problem. But he doesn’t like to be led. So taking him out is a chore.”

He planted his worn boots against the walkway and heaved at the lead rope. The animal took one slow step and stopped again. Exasperation filled the guy’s face. “Holy crap! I’d so make you into hamburger if you weren’t the best bull we’ve had in a while.”

Double Trouble: Chapter 6

Wednesday Briefs

Take a couple of three-year-olds to the fair, and see what happens.

For more free flash reading check out the list of authors at the bottom of this post.

 


Chapter 6

Darrin slammed against the cheap sheet-metal wall of the kiddie dragon ride. The twins were squealing beside him, but nauseous and bruised were the predominate sensations he felt as the cars made their final run and clattered to a stop at the platform.

He watched as the carny made his way down the row of cars, releasing squealing kids and queazy adults from the ride. As he popped the release on their car, Darrin dimly noted the snake tattoo circling his throat. Wow, that had to hurt. A lot.

But he was shaken from his wool gathering by two kids who were crawling over him in their effort to get out of their latest ride and onto the next. Darrin let them escape into the hands of their dads. But then he heard the operator’s gravely voice. “Need some help, gramps?”

Darrin’s gaze snapped to the carny’s face and he frowned. Gramps? This twenty-something punk thinks I’m a grandfather. As he stared into the young/old eyes before him, he realized this kid might have experienced more of the bad side of life than Darrin ever had. But then Trent’s life to a similar age was no bag of cookies.

Then he heard the squeal of the kids and realized he was a grandfather, at least in their little family. The reality of how their ages meshed was enough to make Darrin smile as he made his way down the steps from the latest ride the kids had picked.

He gripped the handrail and started down the steps, only to see Mitch smiling at him. “What are you grinning about?”

“Oh, nothing. Come on Gramps and we’ll see if we can’t find you a walker.”

Darrin leaned close to Mitch’s ear. “Fuck you.”

“Not recently, but maybe that’s a sign of old age too.”

Darrin swung his boot at Mitch’s ass as he danced out of range, laughing the whole time.

The group settled down as the kids picked another ride. This time Trent and Josh rode with the children. Darrin watched the ride swing back and forth with the youngsters as excited as ever. Mitch moved closer and put his arm around Darrin’s waist. “Stop obsessing over that kid. He doesn’t know shit.”

“But Gramps. I’m not ready for people to think of me as a grandfather.”

Mitch shrugged. “Don’t sweat it. You don’t act like a grandpa in bed. Not unless grandpa has the sex drive of an eighteen-year-old.”

Darrin chuckled and shook his head. “I’m glad you think so, but I walked around with a constant hardon when I was eighteen. I’m just as glad that I don’t have do deal with that any more.”

Mitch chuckled. “I could live with getting hard that easy again. But it was a little like walking around with a loaded gun, everything and anything could make it fire off.”

Darrin chuckled. “Yeah, there are days when that would be good. Be ready to go again in a few minutes. Ah, the good old days.”

They turned their attention to the ride as it came to a stop and it started to empty. Darrin couldn’t help but feel comforted when Trent leaned over and kissed Josh as they exited the ride. It was good to see them still so much in love after their rocky beginnings.

“That’s disgusting. Those people shouldn’t be allowed in public.”

Darrin could feel Mitch stiffen beside him and they both turned to see who had spewed the homophobic mouth diarrhea. But for better, or worse, neither of them could identify the person who said it.

“I swear if someone ever says that around the twins I’ll knock their fuckin’ heads into next week.”

“Calm down or they’ll know something’s wrong. There’s nothing we can do about it now. Don’t let it ruin the whole trip,” Darrin said.

“Fucking homophobic assholes.”

As the kids made their way through the crowd, Darrin realized the young guy with the colorful hair they’d seen in the goat barns was standing beside them. Mitch and Darrin both turned to him as his cleared his throat.

“Sorry, I couldn’t help but hear what the guy said. I just wanted to say that you guys are cool. I hope you don’t let one ignorant redneck ruin your evening.”

Darrin started to relax and nod at the kid when he heard a squeal and the twins ran straight to the stranger and each grabbed a leg.

“You have great hair! I think it’ll be cool with my hat. Whatda you think?” Danny said.

“I like it too. I think I’ll look good with hair like yours. What’s your name? We don’t know your name.”

The kid lowered himself until he squatted in front of the twins. “My names Benji. I’m glad you like my hair. I like it too. What’s your names?”

“I’m Sammy and this is my brother, Danny. We’re riding stuff. You wanna go with us? We like you.”

Benji smiled and shook his head. “I think you guys have enough company. But thanks.”

Darrin detected a note of melancholy in Benji’s voice. He glanced at Mitch and got the slight nod that he expected. Looking back at the youngster he smiled. “You’re welcome to join us, Benji. You can ride all the ride these hellions want to ride.”

“Yay! Benji’s ridin’ with us!” Danny squealed.

A smile slowly crept across the young man’s face. “You sure?”

Darrin nodded and gave him a warm smile. “Sure! It’ll be fun.”

 


 

If you’d like to see a snippet from the other Wednesday Briefs authors you can go to the groups website. Or click on the name listed below to go directly to the story.

Here is the final list of those who are flashing this week, barring any changes:

Cover reveal for Drawing the Devil

A heart can live a lifetime in eight seconds.

I got the news I could share the cover for Drawing the Devil! It’s my first novel and I’m excited about it’s release with Samhain Publishing. Now the bad news, the release date is Feb 3rd of next year. I know, I know…the anticipation is killing me too. But I’ll be sure and tease you mercilessly and keep you on the edge of your seats.

But for now, here is the first viewing of the cover

DrawingTheDevil72lg

and the blurb for the novel:

Ever since his father caught him with another boy and threw him out at the tender age of sixteen, Dustin Lewis has been fighting his way up the national bull-riding rankings. He’s on the brink of qualifying for the National Finals when he draws Diablo, a notoriously rank bull—and the ride goes bad.

When bullfighter Shane Rees frees Dustin from the rigging of the same bull that nearly destroyed his face, he comes dangerously close to dropping his guard. Shane knows the potential consequences of being gay in a sport loaded with testosterone-overdosed cowboys, and the resulting scars of mind and body have left him with little self-worth.

Their near-death-by-bull first meeting sparks an attraction that awakens every last one of their personal demons. Yet as the National Finals draws closer, so do they. But they’ll have to overcome emotional highs, near-tragic lows, and bone-crushing danger before love can bust out of the chute.

 

Double Trouble: Chapter 5

Wednesday Briefs

Every taken two active three year olds to the state fair? See how Josh and Trent fare with their twins.

For more free flash reading check out the list of authors at the bottom of this post.

 


Chapter 5

Mitch pulled to a stop, put his pickup in park and then sighed.

“Oh, good lord. We’re just going to the fair. Why are you all pissy about it?” Darrin asked.

“Two little kids on their first time to the state fair. Thousands of people wandering around. All kinds of crap to eat that’ll have us tied to the toilet for days. Dozens of rides that’ll either make the kids sick or piss ‘em off ‘cause they’re too small. No, it’s not a recipe for disaster at all.’

Darrin popped him on the shoulder. “Shut the fuck up! We’re going to have a good time. Those kids are going to be great and all six of us are going to have a wonderful time if it kills us! We’re never going to forget this trip.”

Mitch grumbled, “They’ve never forgotten the Hindenburg either.”

A black dual-cab pickup pulled up beside them and the windows all started flying down. “PawPaw! Grampy!” The twins were practically crawling out the window in their eagerness. Darrin and Mitch climbed out to a chorus of pleas from Danny and Sammy.

“Grampy come get me!” Sammy said.

“Pawpaw, catch me!” Danny said as he crawled out the window and jumped. Fortunately, Mitch was close enough that he could catch the eager little boy. He balanced Danny on his hip while Josh and Trent pulled their gear out of the pickup. Mitch looked at what they had and then at the parents.

“Where’s the stroller?”

Josh glanced up. “We didn’t bring it. The kids are old enough to walk and if they need carried there are four of us. Otherwise, it’s just going to look weird with an empty stroller.”

Mitch bit his lip to keep from giving unwanted advice. No stroller. Yeah, that sounds like a great idea.

The stuff for the kids was stuffed into two backpacks, which Trent and Josh took. Mitch sat Danny onto the ground and saw that Darrin had done the same thing. They held the kids hands as they lunged at everything that caught their eye, which was anything and everything.

We’re still in the parking lot! This is going to be a long trip.

They reached the building housing the goats and ducked inside. While the kids were fascinated with the pens of bleating animals, they had goats at home so they wasn’t nearly as interesting as the people walking past. Danny couldn’t keep his eyes off a young man who walked past with bright pink hair and a thick ring through his nose. He pulled until he could get Trent’s attention.

“Daddy! That guy’s got a ring through his nose like the bull. Did you ever have somethin’ like that? I want pretty hair. Don’t you think it’s pretty?”

Danny’s voice carried to everyone in a hundred feet, including the guy sporting the debated hair. Trent rolled his eyes and squatted down in front of Danny.

“Remember, we use our inside voice at the fair. But yes, Daddy had a nose ring when he was young.” He looked up and winked at the kid who was under discussion. “And if you want pretty hair, that’s fine with me.”

“I want pretty hair too!”

Trent looked at Sammy. “Yes, sweetheart. You can have pretty hair too.”

Danny looked back at the kid as Mitch guided him out of the barn. “But I have ta have my cowboy hat.”

“Your black hat will look great with pink hair.”

Danny nodded. “Yup. Think so too.”

The group made their way out into the walkway. They hadn’t gone more than a dozen steps when Sammy started pulling Darrin toward a food stand. “Come on Grampy. Let’s get a dink.”

Darrin turned back to Mitch with a desperate expression. He chuckled as the rest of them followed. They stood for a minute to see what the vender was selling. Mitch stepped up to the window. “We’d like four lemonades and a couple of kid sized one.”

Danny pulled at his jeans. “I want one a those too.”

Mitch looked over to see them pulling corn dogs from the hot oil. “And could you add a couple of corny dogs too.”

A few minutes later they were taking over one of the picnic tables situated on the fairgrounds. They settled in, and Mitch took the twins to the condiment dispensers with their corn dogs in paper trays. He glanced at the pump bottles of catsup and mustard. “Okay. Do you want mustard or catsup with your corny dog?”

Sammy walked over, considered both then carefully dispensed catsup in the corner of her tray. Mitch watched her walk back and sit beside Darrin and started eating her corn dog. He turned back in time to find Danny with one end of his paper container filled. “Whoa, buddy. I think you have enough mustard.”

“But I likes mustard!”

“Yeah, well you have enough to last a week. Come on.”

He led Danny back to the table, carefully balancing the mustard and corn dog combination. He sat between Mitch and Trent and started stirring the bright yellow sauce with his dog.

Trent watched for a minute as Danny took his first bite and smeared mustard over half his face. He turned to Mitch. “Think he had enough mustard?”

Mitch watched as Danny dunked half his corn dog into the mustard, and all of his hands. He turned back to Trent.

“Looks like it. But I can get him more if he runs out.”

 


 

If you’d like to see a snippet from the other Wednesday Briefs authors you can go to the groups website. Or click on the name listed below to go directly to the story.